Tonga names heavyweight pack to lead charge against Kangaroos
17 October, 2018, 1:58 pm
HAMILTON, 17 OCTOBER 2018 (STUFF NZ) – Forwards Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita headline a formidable Tongan team named to tackle the Kangaroos in this weekend’s historic clash in Auckland.
Tonga will face Australia for the first time in front of a sold out crowd at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.
Taumalolo and Fifita are among a heavyweight pack that holds the key to Tonga’s chances of pulling off a monumental upset against the world champions.
Fifita will line up at prop against his former side having made a last-minute change of allegiance from the Kangaroos to Tonga for the 2017 World Cup.
Taumalolo, who made a similar switch from New Zealand, takes his place at lock in a pack that also includes former Kiwis Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Sika Manu and Broncos young gun Tevita Pangai Jr, while Addin Fonua-Blake, Joe Ofahengaue and Peni Terepo will be expected to add plenty of impact off the bench.
The backline is filled with current and former Warriors. Ata Hingano and Tuimoala Lolohea continue their halves combination from the World Cup and David Fusitu’a, the NRL’s top try-scorer in 2018, has been named on the wing.
Solomone Kata beat out former Warriors teammate Konrad Hurrell to partner Michael Jennings in the centres.
Australia are determined to bounce back from last week’s surprise defeat to the Kiwis and have named an unchanged side.
But Tonga can take belief from that result, particularly the way the Kiwis dominated upfront, as they look to become the first team other than New Zealand, England and Great Britain to beat the Kangaroos since 1978.
Tonga: Will Hopoate, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Solomone Kata, David Fusitu’a, Tuimoala Lolohea, Ata Hingano, Andrew Fifita, Siliva Havili, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Tevita Pangai Jr, Sika Manu (capt), Jason Taumalolo. Interchange (from): Sione Katoa, Addin Fonua-Blake, Joe Ofahengaue, Peni Terepo, Konrad Hurrell, Leivaha Pulu, Robert Jennings, Ben Murdoch-Masila